About construct 3 free version limitations (and it's popularity)

  • So, me and other users have been discussing about construct popularity on the the construct community discord server. The study of use increase or decrease of a game engine is a complex topic and there are a lot of factors that surround it and I do not claim to be a expert on the area.

    That said, some users there ended up agreeing on a specific point that may be holding back construct as a more popular engine, construct 3 free version limitations.

    Why is that?

    With so many choices for game engines - and with a lot of them even having the option to code things using visual scripting - I myself, a c2 and c3 user for more than 5 years, find that it's hard to convince new devs to try using c3 free version due to their limitations. To be honest it's hard to even convince myself to convince new people to try the engine with limitations like:

    • - 25 maximum events
    • - 2 maximum layers
    • - special effects
    • - use of families disabled

    I honestly think those limitations makes it hard to make a small project or even to start to getting to know the engine a litle better. As for now what I can see is a lot of users trying the engine and giving it up too soon because they strugle to create simple games with it.

    Also, This sentiment of not feeling confortable enough to recomend construct 3 for new devs seems to also be shared by others users.

    I understand that the free limited version exists for a reason and that scirra, like any other companny, needs to make construct a profitable project to be able to maintaim it. That said, I think that decreasing the limitations of construct 3 free version may be a nice way to help increase the engine popularity (thus consequently making construct 3 a more profitable software).

    Those are my personal opnions on what would be a great update on construct 3 free version limitations:

    • - Increase the number of events to at least 500 (or maybe even 1000?) - I believe most dev would soon reach this free limit and would need to purchase a license as soon as it get serious on a project meanwhile these are enough events for new users to confortabily experience and get used to the engine.
    • - Increase the number of layers to 5 - Same reason as for the increase of the events
    • - Unlimited use of effects for the free edition - I see no reason to limit the use of effects given the others already existent limits
    • - Enable access to families - Families is such a great feature and I think limiting the access to it might end up creating bad pratices on users using free edition that'll latter upgrade to a paid license, since they might get used to not use it in scenarios that would be better to.

    That all said, I was wondering and hopping if Scirra staff would be willing to take feedback from me and other users about this matter and if a update on the construct 3 free edition limitations would be possible.

    Thanks!

    P.S.: I think it's worth saying that I'm already subscribed to construct 3 and I do not plan to ever go back to c3 free edition, so the only reason I'm creating this post is because I want construct user base and community to grow.

  • I'd like to add to this that I feel that it's a fine balance to be made, but that right now the limits were from a time where on top of the events system and layers system, Construct 3 did not have much to offer. So limiting that heavily was good, but now that the engine is so much more capable, I think that holding back on more extensibility features like Plugins, Timelines and JavaScript is already a major incentive to subscribe.

    The balance weighs between limiting too little and having people develop a large portion of any game while off subscription. But on the other hand, limiting too much and having new users not invest any time into trying what real development feels like with C3 and also potentially making the engine look like a Toy.

    I say this because it's truly hard for me to explain how powerful c3s event system is when seeing only the demos and 25 events. 25 events and 2 layers is very fine for maybe making a mario clone, but its hard to demonstrate that the engine is more than that with those limits.

    I think atleast a few hundred events and just not having a limit on layers would be a good move because any game within a 1 year development scope is already forced to subscribe for a year. So no matter how simple a game is, for publishing they would subscribe for a year in minimum already. And for extended projects, for example 5 years, a 500 event limit or 1000 event limit would be hit by the first month or so, so as long as it isn't 1 year of free development, it's no revenue lost for the most part.

    I think this conversation we had on discord, we also were discussing how Global Game Jam and game jams in general would be less in favour of C3 at the moment because while other engines have a comprehensive free engine for people to be learning, tinkering with, prototyping and generally using all year round, C3 only is fully available during select jams and so it's less likely people will be atleast a certain familiarity with the engine when that time of the year comes.

    As with OP: I am and have been subscribed to Construct 3 for years so it's not about wanting more for free, but over the years I've encountered a few situations where people have responded to me trying to construct 3 as too large an investment to "try". And I think this would be improved with a free version that atleast gets them to a point they can see the benefits, and speed of C3 development.

  • Not going to happen. Construct is a tiny company. But it may happen when someday they sell and become part of a larger company.

    However it is a valid point. I've been teaching Construct at a University for 5 years now, and since C3 came along and price went way up (from C2), none of them end up buying it after their education license runs out (because of cost, even though technically cheaper, in the long run its exponentially more expensive for a student). Whereas when I taught C2 at least half the class would purchase it after the class. With C3 they hate that they can't modify/update their old projects, it does kind of stink for them. But now most switch to Unity, GM2 or other...

  • I see very little reason why being a small company would stop Scirra from making their free tier more appealing. I'm no business expert but I've been running a F2P MMORPG for 7 years now and if the free to play model has taught me anything is that if you get people invested into your product in time, they're more likely to spend money on it. It's not like people who barely know the engines capabilities will fork out 99 dollars a year to try the engine. They're gonna rely on what they've experienced on the free edition to make that decision. And if they see that the free edition is a toy, they're not going to spend 99 dollars for it.

  • Scirra regularly unlock the free version for Game Jams - I imagine that they have fairly conclusive data as to the sweet spot balance of limits/conversions

  • Tbh I don't think that having construct 3 available at full potencial only for jam is really worth for new users IF the user can't experiment the engine well enough before the jam. Usually 48h is not enough time to know a engine well suficiently to make a game on it.

    That's why expanding the free capabilities of construct 3 would be good. So people could try the engine with enough resources to create at least small games.

    Otherwise we'll keep having a lot of people frustrated on how limited construct 3 free edition is and giving it up too soon.

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  • I must say I eventually ended up taking a C3 licence after someone let me use his licence for a month. This was technically "illegal", but without this real trial period, I'd never have ported my whole game from C2 to C3. Why would I have purchased a product I couldn't get a feel for ?

    The free version is really miserable to be honest.

  • We're seeing usage of Construct 3 growing 30% YoY according to all our stats. Perhaps it could be optimised better, but it's a rate we're happy with.

    Looking at stats from Construct 2, we decided to reduce the free edition limits on events when moving to Construct 3 because we observed a large population of users who didn't convert to paid users indefinitely - the free edition met their needs whether this was just for fun or in a different environment such as education.

    FWIW the total # games submitted in GGJ we don't consider a pretty reliable metric, Construct submitted games have been pretty static (like other engines for the most part) and it in no way seems to correlate with growth or other successes we're seeing in other aspects of the business.

  • I see. But is there reason to believe that those users would've paid 99 dollars to use it to any greater capacity if the engine was more limited for free users then?

    Isn't it better if there is more people generally using the engine free or paid. If there is a chance those free users will eventually decide they need to use more advanced features then if they never got into the ecosystem at all.

    I think a majority of those users that are using it for fun were never going to pay that money to use the engine for fun, and even more so now with more choices of free engines. And that back then a benefit of just having more people in the ecosystem free or paid was a good thing, having more games and numbers will give more confidence, and just having a way for people to try the full version of C3 without being limited to 25 events would help people see that the engine is capable of a lot more than c2 was or c3 was at launch.

  • Increase the number of events to at least 500 (or maybe even 1000?)

    We actually have numbers on how many events people tend to use. I checked the numbers, and this would categorically ruin the company.

  • > Increase the number of events to at least 500 (or maybe even 1000?)

    We actually have numbers on how many events people tend to use. I checked the numbers, and this would categorically ruin the company.

    Maybe there is a middle ground?

    I still don't feel confortable recomending the engine to other users for example since the trial experience is so limited and I do think that may happen with other users. I know that may be a pretty anecdotal evidency but the actual number of events available to use on free version is too low imo.

  • I'd point out the limit for the free edition is up to 50 events (providing you sign up), which is double the 25 mentioned in the original post. Our numbers show this covers a surprisingly large number of users. So maybe it's fine to recommend it anyway?

    With Construct 2 people would make virtually identical arguments arguing the free editions should be still higher. I think whatever limit we set, naturally people will say they should have more.

  • If the main reason for having it is for evaluation then it should serve a proper evaluation.

    Do users need an export for an evaluation?

    If not, then that restriction might be an option.

    If they do, perhaps consider what other subscriptions do, a trial period. With proper certification obviously.

  • I honestly think those limitations makes it hard to make a small project or even to start to getting to know the engine a litle better. As for now what I can see is a lot of users trying the engine and giving it up too soon because they strugle to create simple games with it.

    I've been making tutorials and simple games within Construct's limitations for at least 5 years now.

    It is possible to make simple games (simple as in all the template games provided with Construct, check this tutorial).

    It, sometimes, requires some work-arounds, but is perfectly possible and displays how events work and the instance system as well very capably.

    It is, of course, far more comfortable to use without any of the limitations.

    Also, education prices for C3 are actually lower and the system is far more convenient for teachers/managers/students than any offer C2 might have had in the past.

    You can open Construct 2 projects in Construct 3, even if they go beyond the free editions limitations and preview them. You cannot edit (modify) them, that's it.

    If a project does not open, it is possibly using a third-part addon, and this has nothing to do with free edition limitations.

    There is a saying in French that literally goes as : You can't have the butter and the money from selling the butter.

    I have a feeling what this discussion is pretty much asking to have all Construct for free (500 events is bonkers, C2 only allowed you 100, why should C3 offer 5X more ?), which, as already explained in previous posts, would simply end up with Scirra going bankrupt and no more support for either C2 or C3.

  • Rory

    I see very little reason why being a small company would stop Scirra from making their free tier more appealing. I'm no business expert but I've been running a F2P MMORPG for 7 years now and if the free to play model has taught me anything is that if you get people invested into your product in time, they're more likely to spend money on it.

    they need capitol to run day-to-day. they simply can't afford that.

    I think you are looking at it like how Unreal and Unity are free. But you may not realize that those companies are huge with lots of other income.

    If somehow Jeff Bezos gave Scirra some 10s of million dollars, then sure they could easily make it a free engine. After a few years, and with proper marketing and dev successes Construct would be a serious "contender" in the 3rd party game engine world. And they would eventually see returns from many more people using it which would carry the cost of the casual user. Although this is a big "if", you can't really count on a plan like that. Having used all the major engines I do think Construct is special and there is definitely something there, but its a huge gamble that I doubt they are willing to risk. and doesn't seem currently viable.

    Although I think Google would be smart to buy Scirra - and keep them autonomous - and sink in some serious capitol... now that would be great. but who knows, maybe ashley doesn't even want that.

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